“Pleasure is the object, duty and the goal of all rational creatures.” –Voltaire
There is no time like long summer nights to cultivate the uniquely, profoundly human capacity for pleasure, especially sexual pleasure. Our pleasure response transforms our relationship to each other and even to life itself. Focusing on pleasure not only changes how we see our opportunities for intimate connection but also invites us into a deeper relationship with our erotic soul.
True pleasure resets the chemical balances in the brain and body towards centeredness. True pleasure heals the past in the present releasing us into a new way of seeing ourselves and the potential in our life. It is when we are most enjoying the moments of our lives that we are also growing and evolving into better versions of ourselves.
So, take this summer to reinvigorate the pleasure in your life with a few easy summer relationship exercises.
1. Bathe in Your Senses
Pleasure is entirely dependent on our physical capacity to experience through our senses. We open to pleasure to the extent that we become deliberate about learning more about our capacity to see, hear, feel, smell and taste. It’s easier than you would think, just by adopting the practice of savoring which will add a few conscious moments to every sensory experience.
As a relationship exercise, start to listen for subtle noises around you, it will train you to hear the quieter voice in your own mind.
- Look at colors around you and imagine what it would be like to paint them.
- Take the time to taste the individual ingredients when you cook.
- Slow down the eating process and linger over a single bite.
- Smell the air where you are.
- Try to remember the last time you smelled a summer evening just like this one.
- Really feel how it feels to have a hand trace slowly up your back.
- Stay longer in a hug and feel the weight of someone leaning into you.
2. Take More Risks
Our pleasure response gets primed in the spaces we allow ourselves to become more vulnerable. Living on the edge of our own comfort zones is prerequisite to both truly appreciating what you have and opening up to new possibilities. Not knowing what will happen next is edgy and feeds the curiosity and sensation that merges into the pleasure response. This is why predictable sex can so easily become divorced from our pleasure response.
Starting small by taking risks with trying a new kind of food or a new place to grocery shop will prepare you for sexier changes like where you will agree to be seduced or how you are willing to touch and be touched.
Pushing out the edges of your sexual comfort zone will awaken new places of pleasure capacity that you didn’t know you had.
3. Be More Playful
Our pleasure response is lighthearted. As kids, no one had to teach you how to play. Even the most serious street games of capture the flag were won with just your natural curiosity and eagerness to play. Playing and having fun were second nature and approaching your pleasure response with this same spirit will free your imagination to silence the insidious cultural messages of shame and fear surrounding and sadly smothering our ability to feel pleasure.
The key to rekindling this kind of playful spirit is to reclaim our youthful spontaneity and freedom that came from not worrying about how we were being seen. Sexually speaking being able to play with abandon, feeling and risking more sets up the perfect equation where our pleasure response can blossom and pull our erotic selves out of hiding.